ACC claimant threatens sleep-out protest

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 11:58 01/02/2013
jeremy sayer
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ
PROTEST: Rakaia man Jeremy Sayer wants ACC to review his claim.

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A Rakaia man's battle with Accident Compensation Corporation could turn into a protest in Timaru if the organisation does not reinstate him onto their books.

Jeremy Sayer, 42, received a letter from Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) in December, stating he was now fit to work 30 hours a week and his ACC entitlement would be cut off on March 1.

He told them if that happened he would pitch a tent in protest outside the Timaru branch of ACC.

Mr Sayer visited the branch yesterday to tell bosses, face-to-face, he was giving them two months to review his case, because health professionals had told him returning to work was not yet advisable.

Mr Sayer, a mechanic by trade, has been off work since 2011, after he was diagnosed with lateral epicondylitus, a form of tennis elbow.

He initially got the condition in his right arm, but was misdiagnosed and continued to work. Now he has the condition in both arms, affecting his ability to do many day-to-day tasks.

He said continuing to work when only his right arm was affected, meant his left arm was over-compensating.

"Eighteen months down the track my left arm is totally shattered with ligament damage."

Armed with a large file of documents to support his case, Mr Sayer met with Timaru ACC staff yesterday in a bid to remedy the situation.

"What I'm after from them today is a review to make sure they don't cut my entitlements on the 1st of March. My GP has told me I'm not fit for work.

"If things were done properly at the start I wouldn't be having this problem now."

Mr Sayer said he would give ACC two weeks to get his review underway.

An ACC spokesperson said Mr Sayer has been assessed as "vocationally independent", which meant he was regarded as being fit to return to some sort of fulltime work.

"This decision is based on a medical assessment (undertaken by a medical professional, not an ACC staff member), and takes into consideration all aspects of a claimant's ability to undertake work."

The spokesperson said if a client disagrees with ACC's review that they are fit to return to some sort of fulltime work, they have the right to apply for a formal, independent review of that decision.

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- The Timaru Herald

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